Love and Other Matters

Love and Other Matters

Deirdre Serjeantson

Francesco Petrarcha bequeathed to the Renaissance a particular way of writing about love. Shakespeare’s Romeo is just one of his disciples. But love was not the only string to Petrarch’s bow; he was also an archaeologist, classical scholar and respected moral philosopher.

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The Analyst as Eeyore

The Analyst as Eeyore

Tom Hennigan

Fintan O’Toole’s narrow focus allows him to portray Irish public life as suffering a grave malaise, a condition one could almost say was unique to our society. His closely cropped view allows him to denounce our public services as “squalid”. But squalid compared to what or to where?

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We’re No Angels

We’re No Angels

Philip O’Leary

Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s masterpiece ‘Cré na Cille’, which portrayed the meanness and bitter scurrility of the inhabitants of a Conamara graveyard, lacked an English translation for over sixty years. Now it has two, each, in their different ways, doing the classic work full justice.

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A Little Lost

Thomas Christie Williams

When the first rough draft of the human genome was sequenced in 2000, President Clinton announced: ‘Without a doubt, this is the most important, most wondrous map ever produced by human kind.’ Now it seems that the difficulties that lay ahead were underestimated.

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What Lies Behind

Matthew Parkinson-Bennett

For John Berger, the truly great artists are those who struggle to break through to the other side. The struggle is against tradition and convention, which serve the interests of the powerful by restricting human possibility to the superficial, immediate and given.

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Before the Flood

Connal Parr

A new memoir recalls an artistic and political controversy which rocked Northern Ireland more than fifty years ago, at a time when its labour traditions were still strong and the Northern Ireland Labour Party attracted a quarter of the vote and the loyalty of much of Belfast’s working class.

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Follow the Money

John Bradley

We would like to think that finance is the handmaiden of politics and can be bent to the will of benign policy-makers. But forces inherent in the financial system, national and international, have often historically pre-determined political and economic outcomes.

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Towards the Light

John Saunders

A diagnosis of schizophrenia was once regarded as ‘the kiss of death’. However we now know that with effective and multiple interventions people with even the most acute condition can make a significant recovery and contribute to their community as valued citizens.

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The Real Revolutionary

Leo Keohane

James Connolly may have made common cause with the other leaders of the 1916 Rising but his aims were quite different. What he wanted was not just the expulsion of the British from Ireland, not just some form of statist socialism, but the overthrow of the entire economic system.

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One Bold Deed of Open Treason

Angus Mitchell

The trial of Roger Casement took place at the height of the First World War, when the fate of the British empire hung in the balance. Casement was hell-bent on destroying that empire; it is hard to measure the level of hatred levelled at him by those who wished to protect it.

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The High-Wire Man

Enda O’Doherty

Joseph Roth took stylistic risks in his journalism, but they almost always paid off. He became one of the most highly respected contributors to the German press – until 1933, when, as an anti-Nazi and a Jew, he suddenly found himself unemployable. He died in exile in France in 1939.

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Speaking for Ireland

John Bradley

For a state embroiled in conflict, the crucial time for reflection on future possibilities is not when peace has arrived but during the final stages of the conflict, when a clear identification of the possibilities about to be opened up is essential in order to drive the practical bargaining.

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Art And Power

Carol Taaffe

Dmitri Shostakovich achieved success and fame as a composer early in life, and that may have made him particularly vulnerable. He had been one of the most prominent artists in Russia all through the worst years of Stalin’s rule. The consequence was a life lived in fear.

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Rebellion of the Intellect

David Blake Knox

In the Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, published one hundred years ago this year, the hero’s father, Simon Dedalus, describes the Irish as a ‘priestridden Godforsaken race’. That claim may once have had validity, but it does not any longer ‑ at least as far as the ‘priestridden’ part is concerned.

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The City As Hero

Gerard Smyth

If there is a ‘larger than life’ character in Lia Mills’s novel ‘Fallen' it is the city of Dublin itself, whose street names are evoked with a Joycean reverence. This makes it a peculiarly appropriate choice to be chosen as this year’s One City, One Book

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McGahern And Tradition

Denis Sampson

A new study of John McGahern is grounded in a capacious knowledge of his fiction, his reading, his manuscripts and notes, and other critics’ work. It will allow us to assess his enduring reputation fifty years after the career began and a decade after its end.

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A Terrible Thing

Pauline Hall

Iris Murdoch’s Easter 1916 novel ‘The Red and the Green’ (1965) expresses some of her own early Marxist and feminist attitudes, as when a character asserts that ‘being a woman is like being Irish. Everyone says you’re important and nice, but you take second place all the same’.

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Unwoven

Brendan Lowe

A sonnet sequence by the poet Micheal O’Siadhail traces his experiences over the two-year period which culminated in his wife’s death from a terrible disease which makes war on human dignity.

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Half The Man

Thomas Fitzgerald

A new biography of Patrick Pearse neglects the important cultural and educational sides of his achievement and fails to build on or even engage with previous studies of the man who is probably the most interesting of the 1916 rebels.

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The Thing With Feathers

Adam Wyeth

Nuala O’Connor’s novel Miss Emily is more than a portrait of a poet executed with exquisite precision. It offers a fresh, enhancing approach to Dickinson’s inner life, showing a woman with zest and independence of mind.

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Hard and Soft

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

The virtues of Jane Clarke’s first verse collection include a broad sympathy that never usurps the voice of the other, a pleasure in ingenious objects and crafts that is deftly transmitted and a clarity which does not deny mystery but makes room for it.

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On a Wing and a Prayer

Patrick Gillan

In 1978 John Zachary DeLorean made a successful pitch for British state aid to start production in West Belfast of what he said would be the “world’s most ethical mass production car”. There was very little that was ethical about what followed.

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Witnessing

Keith Payne

The answer then as to why tell these women’s stories, why write this, why read this, are the poems themselves. As with all the important questions, the questions that need to be asked and often can only be formulated by a poet, the poem is the answer.

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Voices from Elsewhere

Tom Tracey

Rob Doyle’s new collection demands to be read if for no other reason than to observe what the new generation of talent is beginning to produce by way of a tradition moving steadily away from McGahern’s Ireland into a foreignness no less real for being in no way green.

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The First and Last Word

Aiden O’Reilly

The absence of a plot will no doubt annoy some readers of Tom McCarthy’s new novel, but others will barely notice in their search for a thematic unity to its various obsessions and recurring imagery.

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A Larkinite In Power

Barry Desmond

Frank Cluskey had some very considerable achievements to his credit as a Labour Party minister in coalition governments, but he found himself at odds with many in his party, in particular over attitudes to the violence that was then beginning to unfold in the North.

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Curation Once Again

John Fanning

The current vogue for the term curation arose in tandem with the conceptual art movement, where the idea or concept of art took precedence over the traditional aesthetic, but accelerated in the 1990s when the boundaries between big art, big business and big data began to erode.

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War in Words

Carlo Gébler

And by wars what he had in mind, Gerald Dawe went on to explain, were not only those that one might expect Irish poets to write about (“the Easter Rising, the War of Independence, and the civil war in Ireland”) but those other twentieth century wars, including the Great War, the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War.

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The King’s Man

Graham Price

During the reign of Elizabeth, Shakespeare had concentrated on English political history, but following the accession of the Scottish King James and the Gunpowder Plot, the strife and politics of Britain as a whole would become the focus of Shakespearian drama.

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Held By The Roots

Brendan Lowe

Gerard Smyth is a poet strongly associated with his native Dublin, and in particular with the period of his childhood and youth. His new collection is marked by an impulse to record, with piety and fidelity. The tone is elegiac, yet the poems are still open to the new and exotic

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Airborne

Lucy Collins

‘The Airship Era’ one of O’Reilly’s most finely achieved poems, explores the moment in which modern technology meets the legacy of symbolic traditional cultures. In the figure of the Zeppelin the future is untethered from the earth as air and earth become as sea and sea floor.

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The Long Conversation

Ronan Sheehan

We should neither heroise nor demonise the Romans, writes leading classicist Mary Beard, but we should take them seriously and not close down our long conversation with their legacy. But has that legacy been everywhere and always the same one?

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Getting to Grey

Liam Hennessy

Bipolar disorder has been explained as an attempt to create a world in which everything is either black or white. The illness can only be treated, it is suggested, when the important third element is introduced.

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Astonished at Everything

Peter Sirr

Generosity and largeness of vision seem to meet happily in the poems of Uruguayan-French writer Jules Supervielle, which seem to cover great distances in short spaces.

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All or Nothing

Joschka Fischer

Those Germans who argue so vehemently against a so-called transfer union should realise that the EU has always been such a union. France got the CAP for its large rural economy and Germany the common market for its strong industry. Little has changed since.

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Birds, beasts and flowers

Gerald Dawe

DH Lawrence’s poetry offers a record of the powerful current of physical pleasure, the elusive joy of witnessing that which is different, and the kind of opinionated prickliness when things are not what they seem to be or should be.

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The Stilled World

Nicola Gordon Bowe

Unsentimental, sparing and unspecific, the painter Patrick Pye has sought figurative images to represent symbolically “the archetypes of our humanity” depicted in an alternative universe where expiation has been achieved.

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Cakes, Ale and Learning

Lord Byron, exiled after a welter of scandals in England, found Venice a good place to pursue his normal interests of debauchery and adultery. But you can't hack that all the time without taking a rest.

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Suffragette Unionists

It is quite well known that the supposed solidarity felt between the working classes of different nations melted away fairly quickly on the declaration of the First World War. So too, apparently, did English suffragettes' sympathy for the aspiration to Irish independence.

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Don't Call Me That

Our friends the Czechs want us to call their country by a different name. But as all citizens of Ireland, Eire, the Republic, the South and the Twenty-six Counties know, this is not always a simple matter.

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Us And Them

The question of whether Britain should stay in the EU or leave will be settled as a purely transactional one: is it likely to be good for business or not? There is no point in appealing to a European vision for Britain has never had one.

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Poetry Across the Generations

John F. Deane, Chris Agee and Jacob Agee reading their new poetry.

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La Malinche Readings

A bilingual poetry reading with poets from Ireland and Galicia, Spain.

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Folktales of Ireland: An Afternoon of Storytelling

A Sunday afternoon of Irish folktales as told by some of Ireland’s finest storytellers.

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Poems Upstairs: Gorse Showcase

A collaboration between Gorse journal and Poetry Ireland, featuring poets Colin Herd, Robert Herbert McClean and Doireann Ní Ghríofa.

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Imre Kertész: 1929-2016

The Hungarian writer and Nobel prizewinner Imre Kertész, who has died aged eighty-six, was deported to Auschwitz aged fourteen. Pondering on that experience, and more broadly on totalitarianism, was to provide him with the material for his life’s literary work.

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Still No Reckoning

The sentencing of Radovan Karadžic for crimes including ordering the Srebrenica massacre has been greeted as a cause of satisfaction. But what about all the other preceding massacres? When, asks Ed Vulliamy, will we see justice dispensed for them?

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Ireland And Antisemitism

English Catholic writers like GK Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc were very popular in Irish schools in the last century, Chesterton's prediction of the demise of Protestantism being particularly valued. But their entrenched antisemitism, or indeed any antisemitism, found very few takers in Ireland.

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We're all in this together

A conference to be held in Poland this autumn will consider the idea of solidarity, and by implication its current relative absence in Europe. Are there limits to how much solidarity can realistically be expected? Can we bring it back, or will 'national egotism' triumph?

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Nine Years of the Dublin Review of Books

Happy birthday to us as we enter our tenth year. The drb first appeared on St Patrick's Day 2007.

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Adrian Hardiman 1951-2016

We mourn the death of Adrian Hardiman, a powerful intellect, an advocate of civil liberties and a contributor to the Dublin Review of Books.

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Mothers and Fathers

Creative writers would seem to be well equipped to muse on certain lives they cannot have known. And why not the mysterious lives of their own parents, or that portion of those lives which occurred before the writing offspring were even born?

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Swings and Roundabouts

A squabble between servants in a Dublin house, which led to one of them being 'let go', ended up in court when the parlourmaid Rosa McCabe alleged that she had been fired after being wrongly accused of voicing pro-German sentiments.

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No Europe Please

The British intellectual review 'Encounter' shared a common source of funding with several European cousins and it was pleased to open its columns to their writers - as long as they didn't bang on about Europe.

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